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My 2009 lessons learned.


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Whew! My show went up on Dec 5th this year (opening night for Christmas tree lane in my city) I took most of the week off to set up. I thought that 3 days would be more than enough. Then my father-in-law and Step-dad volunteered their time to help set up. I was thinking that I'd be done in nothing flat and have plenty of time to film my display before Christmas tree lane opened. I was WRONG!

1. Last year I had 80 channels. This year I'm running 112 channels. I didn't think that the change would cause me much more work. I had purchased 750 feet of spt2 cable for 2008 and had all of that to work with as well as the 500 feet of store bought extension cord that I already had. This year I bought a 1000 foot spool of spt2 thinking that I would have more than enough to add the 32 more channels to my display. I barely made it. I also thought that I had bought more than enough vampire plugs. I really could have used more of those as well. I can't believe that I have over 2000 feet of extension cord in my front yard! Next year I'm really stocking up on this stuff!

2. This past year I bought only the boards from Light-o-Rama. I didn't buy any of the cords or enclosures. I figured I may do it cheaper. WRONG. I spent probably double what I would have spent buying the LOR products. AND I really don't have as good a product now.

3. Once I was setting up my display, it became appearent to me that the channel configuration that I had made in my sequences was not optimal to my set-up. The way I had done things would require me to run even more extension cord than I had thought. I worried about how hard it would be to change around the channel configurations in all of my sequences. I found out it was easy. I simply made the changes in one sequence, then exported the configuration and imported it into each of my sequences.

4. I used Tracks for the first time this year. I found it really helped me keep things in order.

5. I like the LED's that I used this year. I was using cheap half wave lights from wal-mart for my disney characters and worried about that. But they look really good. Interestingly the more expensive full wave LEDS that I bought are the ones I'm having problems with. My C9 white string and one of my C6 Red strings have a loose connection in them causing intermittant outages in them. sometimes jiggling them will improve the connection. Really not happy about that but I found out a bit late to send them back.

6. I used white plastic duct over my arches to protect them from vandals that like to pull out bulbs. The duct looks great, it diffuses light very well and adds a kind of organic look to the arches. I used one inch sched 40 pvc for the arches and wrapped 100 lamps to a section on the smaller arches and 140 lamps per section on the larger arches. The 4 inch duct barely stretched over the arches and I tore it a few times on the bulbs. Next time I'll probably use 6" duct.

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